Group feedback to this input focused on elaborating what is needed for a more inclusive market systems approach. Delforce gave an example from Nepal was given where a large market development programme with a graduation approach, similar to BRAC’s model in Bangladesh, is used to help the poorest take advantage of market opportunities by giving them a boost to directly integrate into markets. This is done by collaborating with businesses to improve the supply of inputs to farmers, working with farmers to improve their outputs to markets, connecting producers to product buyers who have market outlets, and training retailers and cooperatives about putting better information on labels.
Kidest Teklu of the International Trade Centre (ITC) highlighted a project in Ghana reflecting the market system approach that DFAT takes, wherein local cocoa farmers are linked directly to markets. The project involves Fairtrade Africa to work with all actors in the cocoa value chain to improve the quality and operations of cooperatives, who work directly with farmers, to implement agroforestry and crop diversification methods. There was a also a focus on local value addition via involving cocoa bean companies who invested in the project and received better crops from their farmer suppliers. Research institutions were also involved in the project, which is looking to expand to other Western African countries.
The roundtable discussion also touched upon the need for translating A4T to regional contextual settings and not relying on international trade agreements for market inclusivity. The domestication of A4T ideas into local actions is important because government policies will affect how people can access markets. As Simon Zbinden from the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) stated, “markets are efficient, not inclusive”. The roundtable agreed that a whole market system perspective linked to an inclusive regional approach is necessary when applying A4T ideas, as the poorest will not necessarily benefit from international trade agreements. Yasmine Ismail, from CUTS Geneva, brought up a counter example of how a regional and international trade agreement can work to preserve the rights of people and reduce poverty by highlighting how the African Continental Free Trade Agreement uses committees to ensure that trade will not hurt the poorest. The members in meeting also stressed that there is a lack of data on regional trade agreement outcome impacts and effects on various sectors, which could be a focus for transforming market and food systems.
Paulin Zambelongo, Coordinator for the Enhanced Integrated Framework’s (EIF) Executive Secretariat, gave a presentation on how the EIF, a partnership of fifty-one countries, twenty-four donors, and eight partner agencies, works closely with governments, development organizations, and civil society to assist Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to use inclusive trade to drive sustainable development and poverty reduction (download the presentation below). EIF utilizes A4T approaches to help country at policy and capacity building levels as catalytic tools to help link farmers to markets. Zambelongo highlighted that the main challenges they face are working in fragile contexts, ensuring resource mobilisation at the country level, and better impact measurement. Discussions emerged within the round table on how to address these challenges, including reinforcing monitoring and evaluation, supporting cross border trade, both to monitor trade flows and to capacitate women to move across borders, and the need for case by case solutions for fragile settings that utilize partner and donor coordination, such as UN institutions, on the ground.